Detained Since: October 18, 2019
Charges: Illegal business activity.
Sentence: 7 years in prison.
Biography: Chen Yu, an online Christian bookseller, was detained on September 13, 2019, and arrested on October 18, 2019, for selling foreign-published books through his online shop (Xiaomai Bookstore). On September 27, 2020, Chen was found guilty by the Linhai People's Court and sentenced to seven years in prison and 200,000 RMB fine.
The government confiscated his cell phone and ordered that the Linhai City Public Security Bureau destroy nearly 13,000 of his foreign-published books. Most sellers of foreign-published books receive a smaller fine or jail sentence; those selling Christian works have in particular been increasingly targeted. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom found that Mr. Yu’s sentence is the most severe of its kind to date. His harsh sentence may be the Chinese government’s attempt to deter others from selling Christian books. He is currently appealing his sentence in court.
Advocate: Bob Good (R-VA)
Advocacy Partner: PEN America